Get right into the center of the Brazilian carnival with this popular street food, Vatapá. Original from Africa, it is known as a specialty from the region of Bahia and spread throughout Brazil. This recipe with a modern twist comes directly from Brazil. Ground annatto seeds add a warm, earthy flavor and natural red color. Though shrimp is a typical ingredient, Vatapá is just as popular without it.
- 1 lb raw shrimp cleaned
- 1 cup coconut milk shake can well
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 4 cups cooked rice
- up to 1 cup broth fish recommended
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 2 slices sandwich bread crust removed
Vatapá Culinary Spice Kit
- Annatto, turmeric, ginger, cumin, white pepper, bay leaves
- 1-2 tbsp peanuts ground
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 lime for juice
- 8 oz watercress
Cut the bread into small pieces.
In a BOWL, add the bread and the coconut milk.
Let it soak for 15 minutes.
Mash it with a fork.
In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over high heat.
Fry the shrimp until brown on all sides.
Take them out and set them aside.
Fry the onions over medium heat until translucent.
Add garlic, tomatoes, and Vatapá spices.
Stir fry for about 2 minutes.
Add the coconut milk with the bread, salt to taste, and optionally peanuts.
Cook about 15 minutes over medium-low heat to get a thick creamy sauce. Add some broth if necessary.
Return the shrimp to reheat.
Optionally, add cilantro and lime juice to taste.
- Substitute the shrimp with fish filet (e.g. cod or snapper), cut into 1-inch pieces, or chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1/2-inch strips. Return them with the coconut milk.
- Omit or substitute the shrimp with garbanzo beans.
- Add 1-2 jalapeno pepper and/or 4 small sweet peppers to the onions, cut into thin slices.